The proposed 17.8% fee rise from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is ‘wholly disproportionate’ and unjustified, the CSP has said.
In its response to the HCPC’s consultation on the registration fee hike from £90 to £106, the CSP says such an increase is unfair, given current pay levels and cost of living rises.
It also states that the underlying question remains whether the HCPC needs to charge registrants more. It is not clear how the regulator has projected the full implications of losing social workers from its regulation, when 98,000 move across to the new regulator, Social Work England.
The HCPC’s own figures indicate that 54% of initial complaints about fitness to practise (FtP) relate to social workers (1226 out of 2259 cases), with well over half of these resolved without having to go to an investigation committee.
The CSP urges the HCPC to do more to ensure that employers understand their role in managing minor issues though their own disciplinary processes. This could reduce the number of inappropriate self-referrals that the HCPC has to deal with.
The response has been overseen by CSP Council, and informed by feedback from members and a recent meeting with the HCPC chief executive and interim chair.
Sally Gosling, CSP Assistant Director, said the CSP is one of a number of member organisations that have sent a ‘robust response’ challenging the need for the fee rise.
‘We feel the HCPC can be more effective and efficient in its use of resources. If it can be ‘smarter’, we believe the rise would not be needed, particularly given that a large proportion of its FtP and education approvals workload will melt away once it no longer regulates social workers. We have made a number of suggestions in our response about how greater efficiencies and more effective working can be achieved. This includes through the better use, analysis and sharing of data, and addressing known issues with the management of FtP cases.’
‘We have also asked the HCPC to do as they said at the time of the last fee increase in 2014, which is to keep the level of fees under regular review to avoid the need for steep increases, and to ensure that this is informed by the most comprehensive measure of inflation.’
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